Arusha, 30 September, 2008 (FH) - Since his mysterious disappearance in May this year, a protected witness, code-named "GFA", who was to re-testify before the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to confess to false testimony, was still on the run, Roland Amoussouga, spokesman of the Tribunal told Hirondelle Agency.

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The witness suddenly disappeared just some few hours before his appearance.

The Tanzanian security organs in collaboration with the UN security have launched a manhunt for the controversial witness but no avail so far. "We are still searching for him [GFA]'', said Amoussouga, adding that the intelligence reports they have was that the witness was also alive. "He is hiding", the ICTR spokesman stressed.

The witness was scheduled to re-testify over his own admission to have given a false testimony before the UN Court, trying key suspects of the 1994 genocide. Known only by code" GFA ", the witness disappeared while he was under guard of Tanzanian police supervised by tribunal officers.

Initial investigations indicated that the witness had jumped over the wall of the safe house while in his routine jogging.

However, the witness left a note saying that he was going to his girl friend's place, without giving her name or location. The note also said that he had requested for $400 to be sent to his family which he never got. According to the letter, the witness had said that he was expected to stay for only two weeks in Arusha, but that was not the case.

GFA had testified for the prosecution in several trials currently in progress at the ICTR, including the Government II Trial, which brings together in a joint case of four former Rwandan ministers accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in 1994.The four ministers are: Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Prosper Mugiraneza (Civil Service), Justin Mugenzi (Commerce) and Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs). All have pleaded not guilty.

GFA had contacted Bicamumpaka's defence team and admitted that he had lied in his statement so as to get released from prison in Rwanda, where he was facing 1994 genocide charges The Chamber had authorized the defence team to meet GFA in the presence of a member of the prosecution team in a meeting which took place in Kampala, Uganda.

On his arrival in Arusha for his re-testimony, GFA was warned by the Chamber of the legal risks he faces of false testimony. He then asked for a brief postponement of the testimony before deciding to disappear.


© Hirondelle News Agency